Let’s check on your knowledge of world geography. Where is Kyrgystan? Where is Mauritania? Where is New Caledonia? I met a cheerful woman, cooking omelets at a downtown restaurant. Underneath her name, the tag showed “Russia.” “You’re from Russia?” I asked. “No, actually, I’m Ukrainian but I grew up in Kyrgystan.” “So, why do you put ‘Russia’ on your name tag?” “No one here has heard of Kyrgystan! Americans don’t learn world geography.” Do you agree with her statement?
How important is the study of geography in the educational system of your native country? At what ages is geography taught? Would 13-year olds or 18-year olds know anything about Kyrgystan, Mauritania or New Caledonia for example? What do you remember about studying geography in school? What kinds of world history did you study? What languages other than your native language have you studied? How did you become interested in other parts of the world?
What countries have you lived in, visited or worked in during your lifetime? How well could you function in them – buy food or use public transportation? What culture shock did you experience? How did you communicate with people? What places would you like to return to? Tell an interesting story from one of your trips.
What are the benefits of learning about different places in the world? Do you think it’s valuable for people to travel to other countries? Why or why not? Give examples of how you personally have benefited from traveling outside your own country. Do you prefer ‘armchair’ traveling to actual traveling? Do you like to read about other cultures or watch videos that show other cultures? Give examples of armchair traveling.
The following are small parts of a cross-cultural story:
“A man named Cornelius lived in Caesarea. He was a Roman commander in the Italian army. Cornelius and all his family were faithful and worshiped God. He gave freely to people who were in need. He prayed to God regularly. One day about three o’clock in the afternoon he had a vision. He saw an angel of God clearly. The angel said, “Cornelius . . . God has remembered you. Now send men to Joppa. Have them bring back a man called Simon (Peter).”
Peter in Joppa also saw a vision. He saw many kinds of animals, snakes and lizards and pigs and birds. God spoke in the vision, “Peter, kill and eat.” Peter said, “No, God, I can’t eat what is impure and unclean!” Then God said, “Do not say that something is “unclean” which God has made pure.”
Then Peter went to see Cornelius although he was a foreigner. Peter said to Cornelius, “You know that it is against our law for a Jew to have anything to do with anyone who is not a Jew. But God has shown me that I should not say anyone is not pure or not “clean.”
---- From Acts 10
***What kinds of prejudices against foreigners are in the world today?